State of the YOUnion

January 27, 2011


Raynard Jackson


Two nights ago, President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address and, as usual, he declared the state of our union is good.  No president has ever said anything differently.  Every president is only going to put the best face on the state of affairs in our country. 


But, the state of our union is not great.  We have runaway deficits, high unemployment, unbridled partisan bickering, crumbling infrastructures (bridges, roads, etc.), and a Congress with an inability to solve problems.


But, today, I want to focus on the State of the YOUnion.  America is not some abstract experiment in Democracy!  We, the people, are America!  We are the union.  We determine what is the state of our YOUnion.


We Americans must be what we are looking for.  If we want competent government, we must hold those we vote for accountable or vote them out of office. 


If we want to bring jobs back to America, then we must stop buying products made in foreign countries.


Our YOUnion has become more about I and me; about my rights, not our responsibilities!  This has led to a lot of incendiary rhetoric, narcissistic exhibitionism, and just downright embarrassing behavior.


For example, there is a small, but vocal segment of our society that claims Obama wants to destroy our country.  Regardless of one’s politics, I think it is totally irresponsible to assert that any U.S. president would seek to destroy our country.  This has become the state of our YOUnion. 


We have turned into a “reality TV” based culture.  The most intimate parts of our private lives are served up for public consumption.  In the midst of a life and death crises, people’s instincts are to pull out their cell phones and record the tragedy in real time.


Why would Congressman Gifford’s (who was shot in Tucson, AZ) husband see the need to release photos of him holding hands with his wife while she is in the hospital being treated for a gunshot wound to the head?  I find this very weird and creepy and frankly, I have absolutely no interest in photos of this nature.  But, yet, I can guarantee, that he will file a lawsuit to try to block the video tape of her shooting from being released to the public.  When it is finally released, he will accuse the public of some type of strange voyeurism.  This has become the state of our YOUnion. 


Last year an airplane was experiencing mechanical problems and the flight crew told the passengers to prepare for an emergency landing.  So, you would think people would begin to pray and mentally prepare themselves for what might happen.  But, no, that made too much sense.  Many passengers pulled out their cell phones and began recording what was going on inside the plane.  This has become the state of our YOUnion. 


For the first time in recent history, you have members of the U.S. Supreme Court not showing up for the annual State of the Union address (for non medical reasons).  Some of the Justices are even now beginning to give speeches before overtly partisan political groups, thus diminishing the very perception of impartiality.  This has become the state of our YOUnion. 


In order to form a more perfect union and to make better the state of our YOUnion, we must remember something very simple.  We can’t have a better union without you!


Only when we put the you in union can we get America back to greatness.  Remember, you can’t have union without u-n-i.


Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & U.S. Africa Magazine ( 

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